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Fitness & Health

15th Feb 2022

Saints star George Furbank on the biggest gym demon in the England squad

Patrick McCarry

Henry Slade

Setting the alarm for those early sessions.

George Furbank and the rest of the England squad are getting a couple of days off, after their win against Italy, but they should assemble again with head coach Eddie Jones, on Wednesday.

The England fullback will be hitting the on-field, skills and gym sessions in and effort to make an impression before the next game, against Wales. If he wants to get to the gym first, on any of the days, he had better get up very early to best one teammate – Exeter’s own, Henry Slade.

Ahead of the championship, JOE caught up with Furbank during a break in the England squad’s ‘Stress Test’ training with Red Bull, and their strength and conditioning crew. Asked who the current England squad’s biggest gym rats are, Furbank comments:

“Sladey [Henry Slade] is always in the gym. He loves a pump!

“He’s always doing his guns, working on the legs and stuff like that. He’s always in the gym. You’re like, ‘Where have you just been, mate?’ He’ll go, ‘Oh, in for another pump’.

“Then you obviously have some of the forwards that are just freaks in the gym, and the numbers that they hit.”

Hearing Henry Slade’s name come up when gym-hogs are mentioned is no surprise. Back in 2019, he spoke with us about some of the strength and speed training he was doing with the England team.

“The England camp asked me to improve my speed, so shuttle runs and sprint training have been a big focus,” he said.

“But this also includes a lot of strength work in the gym with a focus on power superset. A session could include a main lift of a Bulgarian split squat or a front squat that I’ll super-set with a box jump or with a banded lateral bound to make it as explosive as possible.”

Henry Slade passes a football during the England gym session at the 2019 World Cup. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

George Furbank’s top training tips for aspiring fullbacks

Asked for tips that he could pass on to any aspiring fullbacks or wingers, Furbanks says. “There’s probably a bit more of a focus on speed training. A little bit in the gym, but a lot out on the field.

“That would be run mechanics, acceleration stuff. Drills that focus on your top-end speed.” That would include sprint sessions, studying stride lengths for areas of improvement and short, sharp drills over 20, 30, 40 and 50 metres.

During our chat with the Northampton Saints star, he offered us a sample of his diet before and during game-day.

“The day before a game,” he said, “I see it as a bit of a free-for-all! “Obviously, that is up to an extent. You’ve got to load up on carbs, mainly, and ideally good carbs. But I do like to treat myself the day before a game. You know that you’ll burn that off on game-day.”

Dinner the evening before a game

“The evening meal would be pasta based. Something like carbonara, spaghetti bolognese or lasagne. Something like that. A big hearty meal with a little bit of dessert to finish.”


“I’d call it a healthy fry-up, because it’s probably not fried in the slightest. At the start of the week, it will often be smoked salmon, eggs, toast, beans and spinach. Towards the back-end of the week, or on match-day, they might throw in a bit of bacon, to treat you.”


“That tends to be a proper meal. It’s not like a sandwich or anything like that. Bit of chicken, some vegetables and carbs [usually rice or pasta]. The chef here is unbelievable, and he can make anything look and taste good!”

George Furbank

George Furbank was speaking to JOE alongside Kyle Sinckler and Bevan Rodd as England underwent a unique training session with Red Bull to prepare for their opening Six Nations match against Scotland. More information on the Stress Test can be found here.